Killington Resort management had a dilemma.
The K-1 Base Lodge at the popular resort in central Vermont was old and obsolete. It was constructed in 1959 (happy 60th birthday!) with a number of additions slapped on over its lifetime.
A replacement built in the same spot as the old lodge would take approximately 16 months to construct and the resort is open for skiing approximately eight months a year. That right there is some bad math, hence the dilemma.
Killington has six interconnected mountain peaks and five base lodges, spreading the masses out over its 1,509 skiable acres, but the K-1 Lodge is the hub of activity for many guests, so closing it wasn’t a viable option.
Moving the replacement K-1 Lodge to another spot wasn’t an answer since the current lodge is in a perfect spot next to the aptly named K-1 Gondola, the conduit to the K-1 Peak, which at 4,229 feet is the highest in the resort’s collection of peaks.
The solution to Killington’s bad math dilemma is phased construction. They are building half of the new lodge next to the old lodge (12 feet away to be exact), while keeping the old lodge open. In April 2020 they’ll close the old lodge, knock it down and complete the new lodge on the site of the old one. If all goes according to plan, the new lodge will open in November 2020.
Careful Planning Required
Working around such a key component of the resort for both summer and winter operations has been challenging, according to Jeff Temple, Killington Director of Mountain Operations.
“With a lot of planning, the Spartan Event and 2019 Women’s World Cup were successfully operated in and around the on-going construction,” Temple explained.
“With the excavation process complete for the winter and the steel structure mainly in place, winter operations of the current lodge and associated ski terrain will continue with minimal impact,” he added.
The structure of the new lodge is in the spot that guests used as a drop-off area. Also part of the main access road has been closed off to make room for construction and construction vehicles.
“Our guests and staff have been very patient with various road closures and changes to the parking in the immediate vicinity of the construction. With that said, guests will see little change to operations throughout the upcoming season,” explained Temple.
“Probably the most disrupted have been the bus system drivers as we have moved their drop-off areas a number of times throughout the fall and occasionally we have a lost and confused driver in the construction zone, but again, winter operations, drop-offs and parking are now set for the season.”
Along with guests adapting to the changes, the lodge project has been an adjustment for some of the construction workers.
“Most contractors haven’t experienced snow production all around them from October. Plus, as Killington stays true to brand, being the first to open, as well as the extensive production needed for the Women’s World Cup event right next to the construction site, this has been quite a surprise to some and quite a different experience than building in other locations,” Temple added.
Killington’s New K-1 Ski Lodge
Once complete, the new three-story lodge designed by Middlebury, Vermont-based Bread Loaf will be over fifty percent larger than the existing lodge and include a full-service bar, enhanced dining, additional seating, and unobstructed 180-degree views of the Vermont mountain landscape.
The new lodge will have an open floor plan featuring mixed seating arrangements, floor-to-ceiling windows, a grandiose fireplace, and an upscale food court offering fresh, farm-to-table cuisine. The project also includes a re-design of the bus turnaround, skier drop off zone and the upper parking bays.
Phased Ski Lodge Construction at Mount Snow
The Killington solution isn’t unique in the ski industry. Last season Mount Snow in southern Vermont opened a $22 million replacement lodge at the base of their Carinthia area.
“We did almost exactly what Killington is now doing. They came down and toured our lodge and talked to our team several times about the build process and the design process before they started theirs,” Mount Snow spokesman Jamie Storrs said.
“We built a lodge right next to the old lodge because a lodge project of that size was a two year project. We built through the winter and while we were building we operated out of the old lodge. The site of the old lodge is now some of the closest parking to a lift that you can find on the East Coast,” explains Storrs.
The new Carinthia Lodge is five times bigger than the old lodge and includes two bars, a multi-station cafeteria and a sit down restaurant. The old lodge had only a tired old cafeteria.
I, too, had a construction related dilemma. While skiing at Mount Snow two seasons ago, I photographed the new Carinthia Lodge being built, but I had no photos of the completed lodge. And I wanted to see for myself “the closest parking to a lift that you can find on the East Coast.”
Problem solved last Friday.
Martin Griff is an East Coast ski bum. A journalist by education and profession, he shares his thoughts, impressions, experiences and those things that puzzle him with Braveskimom.com throughout the ski season.
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